“A complex game of cat and mouse in the seedy streets of Nottingham
ends in death. Young artist Mia Jackson is compelled to watch the posthumous
video diaries of Jack Flood – controversial bad boy of the London art world and
convicted serial killer. Can Mia allow Drake Gallery to show Aftermath in their
retrospective of his work? Muse or victim, why was she allowed to survive?”
Shortlisted for the Jane Austen Short Story Award and The Virginia
Prize for Fiction, British author Jaq Hazell writes crime fiction and
contemporary short stories for adults, as well as children's fiction and YA.
She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Born near Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, her first full-time job
was at Buckingham Palace. She has also worked as a humorous greetings cards
designer and a journalist. She lives in London.
For more information please visit her website.
I Came To
Find A Girl is one of the best stories I’ve read for Books & Pals, and when
you consider I’ve reviewed 100+ and sampled at least six times that many
titles, you’ll understand that is a substantial compliment to the author.
Finding unique stories like this is what keeps me reading indie works.
The writing was light and crisp with terrific imagery. How’s this for
a keen observation in a night club full of “beautiful people?”--“Boys with
shaved heads and sharp suits stood in a Reservoir Dogs group while a Jesus
lookalike in an artfully torn T-shirt popped something in his mouth.” The prose
flowed. The dialogue was clipped and realistic. And the pages kept turning. The
author owes me some sleep.
Large portions of the story were shown through the lens of a camera
being used to record a documentary film. This unusual technique took a little
getting used to, but it proved an effective and efficient way to cover a lot of
ground, both physically (because the film was shot in short segments at
different locations) and also emotionally, as the person holding the camera,
Jack Flood, was a main character, and the movie he was making became a key part
of the plot.
The main character, Mia, was a struggling art student heading into her
final year and working as a waitress to cover her expenses. She and her friends
were so real to me they jumped off the page.
There was an underlying mystery threaded through the book, but it
never dominated the plot. Sure, I wanted to know “who done it?” but the journey
was satisfying enough that it didn’t need a big reveal. I was disappointed when
I turned the last page. Not because the story didn’t feel complete—it did--I
just didn’t want it to end.
English spelling. English settings. Mostly these will be no problem
for an American reader with the exception of a small piece of rhyming slang
which made me smile. When someone is “Hank Marvin” it means they are “Starving”
Original review ran January 21, 2016.
***** Five Stars
by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words